Promoting British Values
The DfE has recently reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.” The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy and these values have been reiterated this year (2014).
We regularly talk to our children about the importance of democracy in our society and we use it in a number of ways. Last year we held a mock election on the day of the National Election where some of the Year 5 children talked about how they would change the world. The children were then given an opportunity to have a secret vote in a ballot box and when the votes were counted the winner, Oscar Noble, was invited to join the School Council.
We have run a School Council for many years and in September each class elected a boy and a girl to represent them at regular meetings where they discuss different ways of improving the school. The School Councillors then hold weekly meetings which are then followed by a class council assembly in their own classrooms so that they can discuss and listen to the views and ideas of the children in their class. Some of the topics that we have discussed this term are creating a 'bully-proof' shield, eating healthy snacks at break time, sharing our views about Takeley Time and reviewing behaviour in our school.
Last term Key Stage 2 members of our School Council visited Charlton Manor Primary School in South London. We have had links with this school for about five years as both schools keep bees. We wanted to extend this so we contacted them about building up a link between our School Councils. During our visit we discussed how each council was trying to improve their schools and we exchanged some ideas. We are looking forward to building on this link this year.
We held a Year 6 debate at the end of the Summer term attended by our Year 4 and 5 pupils. During the debate the Year 6 children argued for and against a number of topical issues and then the audience had an opportunity to vote for the most persuasive argument. We shall hold another event like this later this year.
We also held elections for our new house captains. The Year 6 children spent time in class discussing which qualities would be needed to lead a house and then they wrote a speech which they presented to the Year 4,5 and 6 children who voted for the best candidates.
Now our red, blue, green and yellow houses each have a boy and girl to lead their teams and to develop this new role within our school.
In September 2017 the children were asked to reflect on the school's vision of 'Learning and Achieving Together'. The overwhelming majority felt that they also wanted to be happy in school and to have fun in their learning. Those discussions have led to a review that now reflects 'Learning, Achieving and Enjoying Together' as our key purpose.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, is reinforced in a range of different ways at school. Each class has begun to develop a set of aims that help us put into practice our vision;'Learning, Achieving and Enjoying Together', if poor behaviour should occur then the children are asked to identify which aim they have not met to ensure that this connection is made and understood. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the police, fire service etc. will feature in our assemblies this year to help reinforce this message. The school 'Behaviour Policy' was reviewed in September 2017 to clearly reflect a greater sense of responsibility and accountability for our own behaviour.
We are committed to praising children's efforts. We praise the children informally, individually, during group work and in front of the whole class. Our weekly celebration assemblies provide a formal opportunity for the children to be praised in front of the school.
We introduced a house system last year so that the children can earn points for their houses through their work. The house captains will work with senior staff to create a system that rewards the effort put in to all aspects of school life.
At the end of the school day all classes have 'Takeley Time'. This gives each child an opportunity to share how they have felt about their day. It is an opportunity to share success and achievements as well as sharing any issues about personal freedom and safety in the school environment.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and by developing the skills needed to manage the environment that they are in. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our teaching of e-Safety and PSHCE. Children are also given freedom to make choices through signing up for a range of extra-curricular clubs some of which are run by the children themselves.
The school promotes respect for each child through our behaviour policy which encourages children to respect each other and to show respect to all the adults in school. Our Year 6 children act as playleaders at break and lunch times and work alongside adults to reinforce mutual respect between children.
Our library contains a range of books that reflect the diverse voices present in our society. We have books in dual languages as well as books that explore issues associated with different cultures and the experiences of arriving in a new country and we have displays that celebrate the different languages spoken in our school. We also use assembly times to teach the children about the importance of supporting others and embracing diversity.
The school has shown their respect for others in our society through our support of a number of charities including Children In Need and the CLIC Sargeant cancer charity. Over the last few years we have donated food to the local food bank at Harvest time. We now keep a box at our school reception so that anyone can donate items of food at any point in the year to support this charity.
The Head Boy, Head Girl, Deputy Head Boy and Deputy Head Girl were invited to join our headteacher in laying a wreath at the Remembrance Service in November joining many of the organisations in our village to commemorate and show respect for those who had lost their lives during battle.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
Tolerance is promoted through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Our link with Charlton Manor School in South London provides the children from both schools with the opportunity to come together either in London or here in Essex and discuss the similarities and differences that they encounter.
We use assemblies to celebrate the lives of people within our society who have fought against prejudice and persecution and these issues have been followed and supported by learning across the curriculum. Also a team led by the local vicar leads weekly Christian assemblies where the children act out a range of Bible stories throughout the year. During our assemblies we have heard from members of different faiths or religions such as Humanism. This has encouraged the children to enhance their learning about world faiths in RE and has given the opportunity to understand why different faiths are important to people in our society.
We have introduced a 'golden leaf' to our celebration assemblies. During each week every class collects nominations from children, teaching staff and midday supervisors for those children who have shown particularly good behaviour. This might be meeting a tough challenge or persevering in order to overcome a difficulty. It might also be for showing behaviour which embodies our Code of Conduct Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Responsible. These nominations are then shared with the class who then vote for the child to receive a leaf. The names of the golden leaf winners are shared during our weekly celebration assembly, they are shared on our weekly newsletter and the leaves are displayed on our Achievement Tree at the entrance to our school.